PA SERS picks StepStone over Cambridge

The $26bn system, which returned 5.9% in its private equity portfolio during the second quarter, has hired StepStone Group as its alternatives consultant.

The Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System has hired StepStone Group as its alternative investment consultant and RV Kuhns & Associates as the pension’s general investment consultant.

PA SERS’ existing consultants, Cambridge Associates and Rocaton Investment Advisors, will continue providing consulting services “through the transition of duties and obligations”, according to a statement.

The pension’s private equity portfolio returned 5.9 percent in the second quarter of 2011, outperforming its venture capital return of 4.6 percent and real estate return of 3.5 percent. The $26 billion system’s total performance for the 12-month period ending 30 June reached 18.8 percent. PA SERS’ second quarter overall return of 2.1 percent marked the fourth straight quarter of positive returns for the fund.

“Assets are holding up well despite the market volatility that has escalated during the past few months,” chief investment officer Anthony Clark said in the statement.

Last month, PA SERS promoted Jeffrey Burton to manage its alternative assets portfolio. Burton has worked for PA SERS as an associate portfolio manager for alternative investments since 2006. He reports to Lauren Lenfest, who replaced Bruce Feldman as managing director of alternatives in June.